This I Believe

Kayley - Wheaton, Illinois
Entered on December 14, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

I believe in taking off the make up. When I was thirteen, I begged my mom to let me wear make up. All of my friends were allowed to, and I didn’t see the problem with it. Now looking back, I know that make up can make you look older than you are, cover up what you really look like, and give people a false image of your identity.

In high school there are girls who cake it on; they walk around with burnt orange masks and black, smoky eyes. Tons of make up is not necessarily a bad thing unless it is being used to cover up insecurities. Masks are something we are all tempted to put on. I usually try to hide how stressed I get. I want to show people I have it all put together and I don’t need anyone to help me or do anything for me. I want to be a strong, independent woman, capable of anything. This persona I have created for myself is how I want to be seen.

In the second semester of my junior year, I got really sick. I tested positive for strep and was out of school for a week. I never really got better. I slept through all my classes. I couldn’t stay awake to do homework. The smallest tasks, like walking up the stairs, drained any energy I had left. I let this go on for almost three months before I went to the doctor. Four tubes of blood later, my doctor informed me that I had mononucleosis. I slept fourteen hours a day and I could barely get myself out of bed to go to the bathroom. My mom did everything for me. It was difficult for me to let go and finally let someone else take care of me.

I never wore make up the whole month I was out of school or the last three weeks of the semester that I came back. I hated looking at myself in the mirror. It was a constant reminder of how incapable I was of anything, how my grades were as low as they had ever been and how I was no longer strong and independent. This experience gave me a chance to really look at myself, not just in the mirror, but deep down. I started to like the things I saw. I learned to admit when I need help. If I had told my mom that I needed to go to the doctor when I realized I wasn’t getting better, I probably wouldn’t have missed so much school.

I still wear make up, but I enjoy putting on a lot less. I try to be honest with how I am feeling. Everyone gets stressed and has bad days, and everyone needs help sometimes. Taking off my mask has made me a healthier, relaxed person. Sometimes, you just need to take off the make up.